The Scope of Practice and Education for the counselling and psychotherapy professions (SCoPEd) is a pioneering collaborative project. It aims to set out the existing training requirements, academic levels, competences, and scope of practice areas for counselling and psychotherapy practitioners working with adults, at each stage of their professional journey. It includes seven partner organisations, with administration provided by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. The SCoPEd Oversight Committee (SOC) was set up to ensure the governance of the SCoPEd project and includes Chief Executives from the seven partner organisations.
In light of their unique structure, the SOC were seeking an Independent Chair who would not be affiliated with any of the partner organisations, but would nevertheless have relevant experience and interest in the role and have the skills to facilitate a diverse group of professionals such that all the voices could be heard. This meant someone with excellent communication and facilitation skills, who could share a passion for the vital work that the partners undertake for their profession, with relevant experience leading committees, mapping standards and thinking strategically.
Eastside Primetimers consultant Paul Venning started by interviewing the appointment panel comprising of four of the Chief Executives of the partner organisations. These conversations focused on defining what success for the committee would look like in the future, what skills the Independent Chair would need to have to ensure these goals were achieved, and what questions candidates should be asked.
It was agreed that the SCoPEd Chair position was a lay role, so applicants were not expected to be a member of a counselling and psychotherapy body or necessarily even active in mental health. Instead, a list of soft skills were drawn up for the candidate specification. On top of these, it would be desirable – but not essential – for the person to have significant experience of chairing meetings, of external representation and of managing stakeholders.
20 good-quality candidates applied, in response to our search/headhunting process, outreach to Eastside Primetimers’ networks and adverts placed with Charity Job and other chosen jobboards.. A dozen of these candidates were interviewed, eight were longlisted, and finally five were shortlisted. Two of the five shortlisted were from BAME backgrounds. These final five were interviewed by a panel of four of the partner Chief Executives. The calibre of the candidates was very high, with one Chief Executive commenting during the process that “if all the candidates are as good as the first we interviewed, we’ll be happy”. The candidates had a wide scope of relevant experience as former Chairs or Non-Executive Directors and experience working with the NHS, charities or certification bodies.
The role was offered to Paul Buckley, who previously worked as Director of Strategy and Policy for the General Medical Council (GMC). The Board felt that Paul “saw the context” of the role and the clarity the project needed. This made him a strong candidate to carry SCoPEd and its Oversight Committee to the next stage of their development.
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